The minister at a church in Lakewood, Colorado has refused to hold the funeral of a woman because she was gay, said the woman's family on Tuesday (13 January).

Vanessa Collier, 33, died when her gun went off while cleaning it in December. She leaves behind two children and a wife.

Collier's friends say the funeral was cancelled by the church 15 minutes after the service was supposed to begin because the church would not allow a picture to be shown of Collier proposing to her wife, according to KBTV Channel 9.

The church's actions have driven people to start a Facebook event page in support of the deceased woman titled, 'Dignity in Death Rally for our friend Vanessa Collier'.

The founder of the page, Jose Silva wrote: "I am a child of a lesbian mother and if my mom was to die, I would want 'Dignity in her Death'.

"As a Christian, I am against bigotry and stand with my friend Vanessa Collier's family in seeking an apology and refund from Pastor Ray Chavez and New Hope Ministries. The acts that took place at her funeral were wrong and no family should ever have to go through that.

"We are all God's children and who are we to judge, no person no matter their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation should be treated with such disrespect at what is to be the celebration of their life."

A demonstration was held outside the church on Tuesday (13 January) by Collier's friends and family members demanding an "apology", reported The Denver Post.

Jeanette Arguello, a family member of Collier, said: "A church turning away a funeral. Who has ever heard of anything like that happening?"

Placards seen at the demonstration read: "You will not find Jesus at New Hope but you will find hypocrisy. Indignity in death."